Definition of lion in English:

lion

noun

  • 1A large tawny-colored cat that lives in prides, found in Africa and northwestern India. The male has a flowing shaggy mane and takes little part in hunting, which is done cooperatively by the females.

    • ‘The crowd roars like a lion in a cage.’
    • ‘South Africa contributes about 30 percent of lions hunted in sub-Saharan Africa.’
    • ‘Male lions develop thick woolly manes on the neck and shoulders, signifying maturity.’
    • ‘Wild African lions roam free within ten minutes drive of the center of Nairobi, Kenya.’
    • ‘A troupe of lion cubs nuzzle her hand and chew playfully on her shoelaces.’
    • ‘For instance, by choosing to hunt at a different place or time, coyotes avoid wolves, cheetahs avoid lions, and leopards avoid tigers.’
    • ‘Male African lions perform this maneuver when they consort with a receptive female, herding her in the desired direction.’
    • ‘She noticed an intricately carved, roaring lion's head was at the end of the banister.’
    • ‘At Babylon there is a famous basalt statue of a man being mauled by a lion.’
    • ‘The zoo had received its three Asiatic lions just two years ago as part of a European endangered species programme.’
    • ‘A stone lion's head, which seems to float above a potted plant, drips water into the pool.’
    • ‘There are springbok, wildebeest, red hartebeest, lion, leopard, cheetah and giraffe among others.’
    • ‘In field experiments female lions tend to choose male partners with the darkest manes.’
    • ‘However, they sometimes reached the pinnacle of honor by killing lions on their own.’
    • ‘Male lions use their manes to attract females, to scare competitors, to make them look bigger and to protect their head and neck during fights.’
    • ‘The river has chiselled the mountain face, making it resemble a lion's paw.’
    • ‘Apparently they don't even have the delightful touch farm and lion enclosure anymore.’
    • ‘Female Asiatic lions live an average of 17 to 18 years, with a maximum of 21 years.’
    • ‘Three year-old male lions grow manes that vary in color from black to blond.’
    • ‘Living with elephants and giraffes, and seeing lions hunt and kill, was fantastic.’
    1. 1.1 The lion as an emblem (e.g. of English or Scottish royalty) or as a charge in heraldry.
      • ‘The Sri Lankan flag with the trademark lion embossed in the middle is flying high around the ring and every time a Sri Lankan batsman hits a boundary the roar from the crowd gets louder.’
      • ‘Various Aokan emblems, such as the lion capital found on his pillars, have been adopted for official use by the modern state of India.’
      • ‘In his 66 displays with the three lions proudly emblazoned on his chest he rarely put a foot wrong.’
      • ‘Four heraldic beasts - two stags, a lion and a griffin - stand guard at a stone staircase opposite the coffin.’
      • ‘Heraldically, they derive from the Azure, the lion rampant or coat of arms of the Galician Volynian Prince Lev I.’
      • ‘He wanted a unique way to show his support for England and so he had the three lions emblem and St George's cross engraved on his false teeth.’
      • ‘This design is blazoned as ‘Gules, three lions passant guardant in pale Or,’ and it is still the coat of arms of England today.’
      • ‘There was a soiled and tawdry mirror above a massive metal and marble clock supported by a lion couchant on the mantelshelf.’
      • ‘Notice the maker's mark is missing and that the lion passant mark is eroded in a peculiar fashion not consistent with normal wear.’
      • ‘Above the doorway of the old hall was a carved escutcheon with a lion rampant, the Arms of the De Lacys.’
      • ‘The ancient emblem for the nation was a lion holding a scimitar against a rising sun.’
      • ‘The sobriety of the streets is relieved by bridges with self-important towers or slightly pompous lions and griffins with gilded wings.’
      • ‘In the very few crannies left behind are fleurs-de-lis, rampant lions, unicorns, dogs, and vases of flowers.’
      • ‘It was Italian, with a crest on it embroidered with three lions inside the shield with two more lions holding up the logo.’
      • ‘People filed by the coffin covered with the Queen Mother's personal standard which mixed the Royal Arms with the bows and lions of her own Bowes Lyon family.’
      • ‘On top of it, the blue banner with golden lion as heraldry of Central Kingdom flew.’
      • ‘It is therefore important when examining a slaver on foot to see that it is struck with the obligatory lion passant or leopard's head erased mark.’
      • ‘When the Scottish King James I came to the throne he ordered that the heraldic red lion of Scotland be displayed on all buildings of importance including pubs.’
      • ‘I needn't see the heraldic lion on his clothes' front to know where he came from.’
      • ‘They have two flags - the lion rampant and the saltire - but no national anthem.’
    2. 1.2the Lion The zodiacal sign or constellation Leo.
    3. 1.3 A brave or strong person.
      • ‘It would have been easy to retire and fade back and let the new lions take charge, but this never crossed Al's mind.’
      • ‘Though this lion has the tendency to be arrogant, sulky or smug, he/she is unrestrained in bed.’
      • ‘Rather, it's in betting on which young lion may take him out.’
      hero, man of courage, brave man, lionheart, lionhearted man
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 An influential or celebrated person.
      ‘a literary lion’
      • ‘That particular party was full of literary lions and George was in his element.’
      • ‘The Advocate asked him to remember a fellow literary lion.’
      • ‘When he relates his one adult visit to her - he by then a rising literary lion, she a well-known poet - he recognizes her flat as the home of a religious woman but conveys little sense of what that might mean.’
      • ‘Though he needs no calling card today, how odd, and even sad, it is that this lion of American letters is still struggling to find his way into print.’
      • ‘Of Dawson's three literary lions, London has by far the greatest international reputation, especially among Europeans.’
      • ‘Endre Farkas' invitation to celebrate literary lion Pablo Neruda's 100th birthday inspired a series of performative prose-poem vignettes, Proem Cards From Chile.’
      • ‘Maybe just the act of posting a novel in a forum where bored Babus can read it and slam it will be enough to awaken the sleeping literary lion in aspiring novelists.’
      • ‘The literary lion offended the politically-correct crowd by denouncing her.’
      • ‘Tweedy Upper West Side literary lion teams up with Wall Street mogul to launch multimedia content ‘brand.’’
      • ‘Is Tim trying to hold off the emerging influence of a young leftie lion?’
      • ‘Even bigger if you add that he's working with a major publisher and that literary lion Kurt Vonnegut calls the book ‘… nothing less than the soul of an extremely interesting human being at war…‘’
      • ‘Dutt actually looks plausible as the weather-beaten old literary lion, galled by his own unfashionability.’
      • ‘J.D. Salinger had to wall himself away from the world and refuse to play the literary lion that the sales figures of his books easily enabled him to become.’
      • ‘Scott was 15 or so, and Burns was 28, but already a literary lion.’
      • ‘Soon he was to move on to London and celebrity, becoming a literary lion of the metropolis of the Nineties.’
      • ‘A songwriter needn't be a literary lion but in this case, the lack of a back story, esoteric insight, charmed charisma, or soothsayer actualization renders them, more or less, a solid bar band with a great list of influences.’
      • ‘He does not ignore the psychological complexities of Ellison, who was not the drab, neutered literary lion some critics made him out to be.’
      • ‘It's the eagerly awaited second novel from the 28-year-old Foer, currently the hottest young literary lion around (he was the cover story of the Feb. 27 issue of the New York Times magazine).’
      • ‘He's the son of ‘Black Jack’ Michelet, an overbearing literary lion on the scale of a Norman Mailer.’
      • ‘In his time, novelist-playwright Bulwer-Lytton was one of England's literary lions, but his reputation did not survive into the 20th century.’
      • ‘Authors sit in the green room waiting to go on, literary lions about to be eaten by library Christians.’
      • ‘His broadside against his critics seemed more like the rantings of a schoolboy than a literary lion.’
      • ‘He has been justly celebrated as a business lion - and the book reveals a certain beastliness.’
      celebrity, person of note, dignitary, notable, vip, personality, public figure, celebutante, pillar of society, luminary
      View synonyms
  • 2A member of a Lions Club.

    • ‘He was a Lion, who joined in 1975 and became the first Secretary of the Virgin Gorda Lions Club.’

Phrases

  • throw someone to the lions

    • Cause someone to be in an extremely dangerous or unpleasant situation.

      • ‘Hey, at least we're not throwing them to the lions.’
      • ‘Whatever it was, suddenly she had been thrown to the lions.’
      • ‘Maybe Claudio would be better off breaking free from the Roman Empire before he is thrown to the lions.’
      • ‘I am willing to give it a shot by throwing him to the lions and asking him what he prefers afterwards.’
      • ‘When he misled Downing Street, Campbell the gladiator was instrumental in throwing him to the lions.’
      • ‘The king wants you alive so he can throw you to the lions.’
      • ‘Everyone there reckoned the BBC were throwing him to the lions, but he waltzed through it and has gone from strength to strength ever since.’
      • ‘If they'll agree not to throw us to the lions we promise not to provide any more fodder for bad movies.’
      • ‘She believes that David was treated roughly by those who threw him to the lions, with little advice or guidance.’
      • ‘‘The third,’ Reilly said, ‘are like Nero, who would throw us to the lions any chance they got.’’

Origin

Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French liun, from Latin leo, leon-, from Greek leōn, leont-.

Pronunciation

lion

/ˈlīən//ˈlaɪən/